08/02/11 — Man dies when truck hits tree

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Man dies when truck hits tree

By Gary Popp
Published in News on August 2, 2011 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- A Lucama man died Monday morning after the vehicle he was riding in struck a tree.

Daniel Edward Hayes, 27, of Tedder Road, was pronounced dead at the scene on U.S. 117 North.

The incident occurred around 9:42 when Dennis Ray Taylor Jr., 32, of Saw Dust Road in Wilson, appeared to fall asleep behind the wheel, state Highway Patrol Trooper M.J. Holloman said.

The two men were traveling south about one mile north of Fremont near the intersection of Owens Farm Road when their vehicle, a 2001 GMC Sierra full-sized pickup truck, left the two-lane highway.

"The vehicle crossed the center line, went into a large ditch, continued traveling down the ditch until they hit a large tree on the left side of the ditch causing the vehicle to overturn," Holloman said.

Holloman said Hayes was not wearing a safety belt, but Taylor was buckled up.

Holloman added that there is no evidence to show Taylor was exceeding the 55 mph speed limit.

Taylor was taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital for injuries to his right leg, including a broken ankle.

Holloman said Taylor was conscious and alert at the hospital.

"He was very upset and had an apologetic demeanor," Holloman said of Taylor. "He was saying that (Hayes) was his best friend."

Holloman said that Taylor was "certain about the drowsiness and being sleepy" before losing control of the vehicle.

Charges against Taylor are pending and might be filed today, Holloman said.